Monday, September 28, 2009

Someone else's hands.

Just recently my grandmother was placed into the hospital. She was intubated, on a respirator, sedated and restrained all in the matter of minutes. I had gone to visit her on Saturday because she’s 82 and fragile, and at least for a while she was walking just out side of death’s gates. When I walked into the hospital room, I noticed she didn’t even take up half of the bed. The 94 pounds of her, laid, quietly under the covers. My grandfather was standing next to her holding her hand, telling her things will be alright and to go to sleep. I can see the fear in her eyes when she caught mine. Her hands were trying so desperately to remove the restraints so she could pull the tube out of her mouth that extended down to her lungs. So I mouth to her, “it’ll be alright, just go to sleep.” She closed her eyes softly, performed the sign of the cross, silently mouthed the “Our Father” and drifted peacefully off to sleep. At that moment, it hit me. That feeling of dread. That feeling of death. That feeling of wondering if this is it for her. And I realized then that her faith is what keeps her strong through all of this. And I don’t know how it is to feel as though it is in someone else’s hands from here on out. I don’t know if I can surrender my feeling of absoluteness and control over the idea that the end is the end. I realized however, in that hospital room, when she showed fear, she was thinking of life, when she showed strength, she was thinking of her life after death. How is it that faith can be this powerful? To give someone the strength to face death straight on? I’m a very anti- religious person. I believe that death is the complete end of physical and spiritual life. Our energy stays, but only stays as energy. And that when we are buried in the ground we become part of the earth, not necessarily part of a supernatural community living up in the sky, with all of the people who have gone before us. Everyone has his or her own version of what happens after we die. But I couldn’t help but feel envious, just for a moment, of the calmness that waved over her body when she felt her God was with her. And I wonder now, of my own thoughts of death and life after death or the lack there of, and if I’m going about this the wrong way.

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